The Jungle By Upton Sinclair Chapter 24

"Yes," said Jurgis.

"Aha! I thosso! Lossa folks from country never saw such a place. Guv'ner brings 'em — free show — hic — reg'lar circus! Go home tell folks about it. Ole man lones's place — lones the packer — beef-trust man. Made it all out of hogs, too, damn ole scoundrel. Now we see where our pennies go — rebates, an' private car lines — hic — by Harry! Bully place, though — worth seein'! Ever hear of lones the packer, hey, ole chappie?"

Jurgis had started involuntarily; the other, whose sharp eyes missed nothing, demanded: "Whuzzamatter, hey? Heard of him?"

And Jurgis managed to stammer out: "I have worked for him in the yards."

"What!" cried Master Freddie, with a yell. "You! In the yards? Ho, ho! Why, say, thass good! Shake hands on it, ole man — by Harry! Guv'ner ought to be here — glad to see you. Great fren's with the men, guv'ner — labor an' capital, commun'ty 'f int'rests, an' all that — hic! Funny things happen in this world, don't they, ole man? Hamilton, lemme interduce you — fren' the family — ole fren' the guv'ner's — works in the yards. Come to spend the night wiz me, Hamilton — have a hot time. Me fren', Mr. — whuzya name, ole chappie? Tell us your name."

"Rudkus — Jurgis Rudkus."

"My fren', Mr. Rednose, Hamilton — shake han's."

The stately butler bowed his head, but made not a sound; and suddenly Master Freddie pointed an eager finger at him. "I know whuzzamatter wiz you, Hamilton — lay you a dollar I know! You think — hic — you think I'm drunk! Hey, now?"

And the butler again bowed his head. "Yes, sir," he said, at which Master Freddie hung tightly upon Jurgis's neck and went into a fit of laughter. "Hamilton, you damn ole scoundrel," he roared, "I'll 'scharge you for impudence, you see 'f I don't! Ho, ho, ho! I'm drunk! Ho, ho!"

The two waited until his fit had spent itself, to see what new whim would seize him. "Whatcha wanta do?" he queried suddenly. "Wanta see the place, ole chappie? Wamme play the guv'ner — show you roun'? State parlors — Looee Cans — Looee Sez — chairs cost three thousand apiece. Tea room Maryanntnet — picture of shepherds dancing — Ruysdael — twenty-three thousan'! Ballroom — balc'ny pillars — hic — imported — special ship — sixty-eight thousan'! Ceilin' painted in Rome — whuzzat feller's name, Hamilton — Mattatoni? Macaroni? Then this place — silver bowl — Benvenuto Cellini — rummy ole Dago! An' the organ — thirty thousan' dollars, sir — starter up, Hamilton, let Mr. Rednose hear it. No — never mind — clean forgot — says he's hungry, Hamilton — less have some supper. Only — hic — don't less have it here — come up to my place, ole sport — nice an' cosy. This way — steady now, don't slip on the floor. Hamilton, we'll have a cole spread, an' some fizz — don't leave out the fizz, by Harry. We'll have some of the eighteen-thirty Madeira. Hear me, sir?"

"Yes, sir," said the butler, "but, Master Frederick, your father left orders — "

And Master Frederick drew himself up to a stately height. "My father's orders were left to me — hic — an' not to you," he said. Then, clasping Jurgis tightly by the neck, he staggered out of the room; on the way another idea occurred to him, and he asked: "Any — hic — cable message for me, Hamilton?"

"No, sir," said the butler.

"Guv'ner must be travelin'. An' how's the twins, Hamilton?"

"They are doing well, sir."

"Good!" said Master Freddie; and added fervently: "God bless 'em, the little lambs!"

They went up the great staircase, one step at a time; at the top of it there gleamed at them out of the shadows the figure of a nymph crouching by a fountain, a figure ravishingly beautiful, the flesh warm and glowing with the hues of life. Above was a huge court, with domed roof, the various apartments opening into it. The butler had paused below but a few minutes to give orders, and then followed them; now he pressed a button, and the hall blazed with light. He opened a door before them, and then pressed another button, as they staggered into the apartment.

It was fitted up as a study. In the center was a mahogany table, covered with books, and smokers' implements; the walls were decorated with college trophies and colors — flags, posters, photographs and knickknacks — tennis rackets, canoe paddles, golf clubs, and polo sticks. An enormous moose head, with horns six feet across, faced a buffalo head on the opposite wall, while bear and tiger skins covered the polished floor. There were lounging chairs and sofas, window seats covered with soft cushions of fantastic designs; there was one corner fitted in Persian fashion, with a huge canopy and a jeweled lamp beneath. Beyond, a door opened upon a bedroom, and beyond that was a swimming pool of the purest marble, that had cost about forty thousand dollars.

Master Freddie stood for a moment or two, gazing about him; then out of the next room a dog emerged, a monstrous bulldog, the most hideous object that Jurgis had ever laid eyes upon. He yawned, opening a mouth like a dragon's; and he came toward the young man, wagging his tail. "Hello, Dewey!" cried his master. "Been havin' a snooze, ole boy? Well, well — hello there, whuzzamatter?" (The dog was snarling at Jurgis.) "Why, Dewey — this' my fren', Mr. Rednose — ole fren' the guv'ner's! Mr. Rednose, Admiral Dewey; shake han's — hic. Ain't he a daisy, though — blue ribbon at the New York show — eighty-five hundred at a clip! How's that, hey?"

The speaker sank into one of the big armchairs, and Admiral Dewey crouched beneath it; he did not snarl again, but he never took his eyes off Jurgis. He was perfectly sober, was the Admiral.

The butler had closed the door, and he stood by it, watching Jurgis every second. Now there came footsteps outside, and, as he opened the door a man in livery entered, carrying a folding table, and behind him two men with covered trays. They stood like statues while the first spread the table and set out the contents of the trays upon it. There were cold pates, and thin slices of meat, tiny bread and butter sandwiches with the crust cut off, a bowl of sliced peaches and cream (in January), little fancy cakes, pink and green and yellow and white, and half a dozen ice-cold bottles of wine.

"Thass the stuff for you!" cried Master Freddie, exultantly, as he spied them. "Come 'long, ole chappie, move up."

And he seated himself at the table; the waiter pulled a cork, and he took the bottle and poured three glasses of its contents in succession down his throat. Then he gave a long-drawn sigh, and cried again to Jurgis to seat himself.

The butler held the chair at the opposite side of the table, and Jurgis thought it was to keep him out of it; but finally he understand that it was the other's intention to put it under him, and so he sat down, cautiously and mistrustingly. Master Freddie perceived that the attendants embarrassed him, and he remarked with a nod to them, "You may go."

They went, all save the butler.

"You may go too, Hamilton," he said.

"Master Frederick — " the man began.

"Go!" cried the youngster, angrily. "Damn you, don't you hear me?"

The man went out and closed the door; Jurgis, who was as sharp as he, observed that he took the key out of the lock, in order that he might peer through the keyhole.

Master Frederick turned to the table again. "Now," he said, "go for it."

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